Winter Tire Advantage
Canadians have more winter tire choices than most drivers around the world. With vast Canadian landscape, winter driving means different things in the snowy Maritimes, cold urban roads of Quebec and Ontario, frigid and windy prairies, and BC’s warmer Lower Mainland and unpredictable mountain roads. That’s why Canadians are offered a wide range of tire products for winter driving.
Key Winter Tire Performance
Stopping and traction are all that matters when it comes to safe winter driving. Dedicated winter tires (often mistakenly referred to as “snow tires”) are manufactured with more flexible rubber compounds for superior traction even at extremely cold temperatures. Coupled with sophisticated tread designs, winter tires allow for greater control and braking capability on cold, dry, snow-covered, icy, or slushy roads, and are the right choice for the Canadian winter.
According to study from Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF; www.tirf.ca):
- at temperatures just below freezing, stopping distances for vehicles with winter tires are as much as 30% shorter than for vehicles with all-season tires (marked M+S/Mud and Snow tires), and
- winter tires deliver better traction on an ice or snow-covered road surface at -30°C vs. all-season tires at 4°C.
The Canadian tire industry and the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada led the creation of the ASTM F-1805 test method and the development of the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMS) symbol. Since 1999, the test and the symbol are used throughout the world to identify tires designed for winter driving.
ASTM F-1805 Driving Traction Test and Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMS) Symbol
The Canadian Government requires that tires marked with a three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMS) symbol must comply with minimum safety standards for winter driving. Transport Canada establishes regulations, under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA), which specify the tires identified with the 3PMS symbol must pass the ASTM F-1805 Driving Traction Test on a medium packed snow surface. The ASTM F-1805 Driving Traction Test is a well-established performance-based standard for winter tire testing.
The winter driving season can be quite challenging due to quickly changing weather and road conditions. Manufacturers of winter tires continue to evolve their designs with innovations in tread patterns and rubber compounds. Tires marked with the 3PMS symbol provide the best performance in winter conditions.